What Passes for Objective Reporting this Election Season:

First two paragraphs of an AP story:

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Saturday accused Democrat Barack Obama of "palling around with terrorists" because of his association with a former 1960s radical, stepping up the campaign's effort to portray Obama as unacceptable to American voters. Palin's reference was to Bill Ayers, one of the founders of the group the Weather Underground. Its members took credit for bombings, including nonfatal explosions at the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol, during the tumultuous Vietnam War era four decades ago. Obama, who was a child when the group was active, served on a charity board with Ayers several years ago and has denounced his radical views and activities.
There is nothing balatantly false in this story, but it's about as one-sided a presentation of the contoversy as one could imagine; no mention that the Weather Underground planned a very deadly attack on Fort Dix; the excuse that the times were "tumultuous;" the reference to Obama being child, no reference to Obama having his inaugural political event at Ayer's house; no mention of Ayers lack of contrition for his terrorist activities; no mention of Ayers' fugitive years; no mention that Obama only saw fit to denounce Ayers' only when it became an issue in his presidential campaign, and the intentional downplaying of Ayers' and Obama's relationship to "serving on a charity board" with Ayers, as opposed to "worked closely with Ayers on a major educational reform project in Chicago." Indeed, I'd say that the last two sentences could have been written by the Obama campaign, and, in fact, that the reporter probably repeated talking points he received from the campaign virtually verbatim.

UPDATE: I'm traveling and haven't seen the New York Times piece on Obama and Ayers. It's possible that the AP reporter was just regurgitating what that story says. If so, the reporter should know better than to rely on the Times, at least in this cycle.

FURTHER UPDATE: Glancing at the comments, a lot of people want to defend Obama, but no one seems willing or able to make a serious argument that the AP story doesn't amount to a defense of Obama in what is supposed to be straight news. The fourth sentence should have simply started with "The Obama campaign ressponds," instead of putting Obama talking points into the reporter's keyboard.